The Muslim Dominoes Are Starting To Topple
The news out of Lebanon this morning is incredibly hopeful.
Thousands of people are in the streets calling for Syria to pull out it troops, despite a government ban on the protest march. Lebanese troops are stopping people from coming into Beirut to join the protest, but they are not stopping it from growing inside the city lines.
If this, albeit minor, yet tacit approval of the local military is indicative of that country's feelings then it is only a matter of time until the Syrian backed Lebonese parliament falls.
Oh wait a minute, the government is gone, according to this report.
That is exactly how fast things are moving these days in the Middle East. A country can go from being the mere chattel of a stronger neighbor, to being on the brink of true independence in half a day.
Then there is another story out of Egypt over the weekend. There president for life Hosni Mubarek has become a bit more open to the idea of holding democratic elections. While I doubt he would do this while he remains in power, it does give the local population something to look forward to after he dies. On the dark side the decision might speed his demise if potential presidential candidates decide to eliminate him in order for elections to be held a bit more expeditiously.
And why is all this happening?
Because the U.S., Britain and its allies knocked Saddam Hussein from power. The initial cause fo that invasion may have been off the mark, but if the end result is a sweeping democratic movement across this region then in the end it would have been worth the cost.
The real question going forward is whether these nascent movements have any staying power. Will this be like the end of the Cold War when the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact toadies imploded in an amazingly brief period of time? Only history will us the answer to that question, but the situation is certainly more hopeful today then it was two years ago.